I found this week’s readings to be quiet interesting. Firstly not only was I reminded of my own lack of memory retention, but also because it did educate me in this topic.
In the ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis’ reading by Stiegler (Stiegler n.d) I did find this quite ironic, yet plausible:
“A spontaneous memory support, the lithic tool is not however made to store memory : not until the late paleolithic period domnemotechniques as such appear. “
Stiegler goes on too, to further explain the history of mnemotechnology, and how the brain is not our only form of memory retention:
“Ideogrammatic writing springing up after the neolithic period leads to the alphabet – which yet today organizes the agenda of the manager, but this calendary object is henceforth an apparatus: the personal data planner; and it is no longer a mnemotechnic, but a mnemotechnology.”
He goes on to mention the TV, computer, GPS etc to be cognitive technologies where we are able to store a greater part or our memory, which he says goes on in fact to allow us to lose “an ever-greater part of our knowledge”.
The reading does indeed address the external environment as a possible memory form, not just giving our brain the exclusive rights. In ‘Does thinking Happen in the Brain?’ by Noe (Noe 2010), the notion of the brain being a single unity in memory and emotions is again continued. I especially like the car/engine analogy that is used in comparison to how the brain conveys emotions and that the brain is not doing the work itself:
“How my car drives depends on what goes on inside its engine. Modifying the engine affects the driving behavior. Speeding up, slowing down, and such like, in turn, affect the engine. But it would be bizarre to say that the driving really happens in the engine. If my car has no wheels on it, or is up on the lift, it won’t drive, whatever happens inside the engine.”
When it comes to the brain nothing can be simple...
The other readings showed noteworthy instances and even loopholes so to say with the brain, and memory.
In Alan Kay’s video discussion on ‘Learning’ (Kay, unknown) he explores the concept of user interface design, by using an example of an elderly woman who has never played tennis (or sport for that manner) who learns in 20 minutes. He states that “Learning happens when attention is focused” and in this case interface was removed, and the focus of mentality was sustained, by merely copying actions and what came naturally; excluding our need to think or the need to talk or comment.
‘The Mind Games – Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’ By Pamoukaghlian (Pamoukaghlian 2011) reading showed the extent that our minds can be controlled through techniques such as Electromagnetic Control (EMR), which scarily enough features to be a strong military interest over the years.
All in all the mind and the power of memory never ceases to amaze me, and this week has showed me its limitations, and its capabilities, and perhaps how to stretch my own.
– Stiegler, Bernard (n.d.) ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: Plato as the first thinker of the proletarianisation’ accessed 16/3/2012 <http://arsindustrialis.org/anamnesis-and-hypomnesis>
– Noë, Alva (2010) ‘Does thinking happen in the brain?’, 13:7 Cosmos and Culture, accessed 16/3/2012 <http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/12/10/131945848/does-thinking-happen-in-the-brain>
– Kay, Alan, Learning, YouTube, accessed 17/3/2012 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50L44hEtVos>
– Pamoukaghlian, Veronica (2011) ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’, Brainblogger.com, December 28, accessed 16/3/2012<http://brainblogger.com/2011/12/28/mind-games-sciences-attempts-at-thought-control/>
– Picture Courtesy of Jonathan 2007 Flickr